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Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2016 10:47:36 +0100
From: Dmitry Khovratovich <>
To: "" <>
Subject: Re: [PHC] hash encryption

Simplest scheme would be SHA-256 in the counter mode.

Just XOR SHA-256(Key||Nonce||0..0)||SHA-256(Key||Nonce||0..01) to the
block[4], that's it.


On Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 8:54 AM, Jean-Philippe Aumasson <> wrote:

> What are your requirements wrt key size, block size, mode, speed?
> With all the crypto in yescrypt, we'll probably find a decent scheme based
> on existing code :-)
> On Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 5:39 AM Solar Designer <> wrote:
>> On Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 09:08:41PM -0700, Andy Lutomirski wrote:
>> > My recollection of the different security properties of different
>> numbers
>> > of Luby-Rackoff rounds is a bit vague, but they have nothing to do with
>> > bits of security or work factor.  Can you justify them?
>> I found Thomas Pornin's answer here helpful:
>> Regarding 7 rounds for 256-bit security:
>> In other words, 128-bit security for a 256-bit block is what
>> Luby-Rackoff's usual 3 or 4 rounds provide (it's 4 for chosen ciphertext
>> attacks, which might or might not be relevant here).
>> Almost 256-bit security for a 256-bit block is achieved at 7 rounds, as
>> shown in that other paper above.  I did not verify their results.
>> > IMO the error case should not result in the identity function.  Abort or
>> > memset-to-zero would be better.
>> For an error case, sure.  But this isn't meant to be an error case: it
>> is how we typically use password hashes now, without encryption.
>> I could encrypt with the empty key, but there's no security difference
>> here from not encrypting at all.  Zero key length is not the same as a
>> key that just happens to be all-zero.
>> I could treat zero key length as an error, but then why not treat low
>> key length as an error as well?  And what's "low"?
>> > Hashing the key length in before the key would avoid needing to think
>> about
>> > related-key attacks that might lose you one round or so of security
>> under
>> > some circumstances.  Using a short-key variant as an oracle against a
>> > long-key variant would be nasty
>> That's an interesting thought.  SHA-256 already hashes in the full
>> message length in bits, and with only the key being of variable length
>> here this feels sufficient.  Do you think it might not be, and why?
>> Hashing in the full key length may be tricky to implement because it'd
>> require converting it to an endianness-independent layout first.  I am
>> trying to avoid cluttering the code with unneeded(?) stuff like this.
>> Round number was much easier since those numbers are definitely small
>> enough to fit in 1 byte, and this is a requirement for the Luby-Rackoff
>> proof (independent functions for each round).
>> BTW, I am considering changing:
>>                 SHA256_Update(&ctx, &round, 1);
>> to:
>>                 {
>>                         uint8_t round_bytes[4] = {round};
>>                         SHA256_Update(&ctx, round_bytes,
>> sizeof(round_bytes));
>>                 }
>> to ease optimized implementations (so that the key would start at an
>> aligned boundary, fitting SHA-256's 32-bit words directly).  But this
>> clutters the SHA256_Update()-using code as above.  Any thought on that?
>> Optimize for cleaner code here or for cleaner and shorter optimized code?
>> This cipher isn't exactly performance-critical here, since it'll
>> normally correspond to a negligible fraction of the password hashing
>> time.  But it's also 100% overhead, because an offline attacker who has
>> the key will be able to decrypt the hashes prior to cracking them.
>> And maybe someone will reuse it elsewhere.
>> Thank you for the review!
>> Alexander

Best regards,
Dmitry Khovratovich

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